Three films to watch for at this year’s Victoria Film Festival

Culture Film

The annual festival is coming this February

With the New Year comes the annual Victoria Film Festival (VFF). If you’ve never been to the VFF, it is a ten-day event running from Feb. 4-13 with the opportunity to see a diverse variety of films that you normally wouldn’t get the chance to see. There’s emerging filmmakers, veterans of the industry, animated works, documentaries, Canadian and international filmmakers — you name it. 

Not only are there a bunch of unique movies to check out, there’s also a bunch of free events and seminars available through the SpringBoard Industry Event, which offers the opportunity to meet with industry leaders one on one, as well as the chance to discuss ideas and craft. The SpringBoard Industry Event runs Feb. 5 and 6. There is also the NFB Animation Immersion Workshop on Feb. 7, which gives emerging filmmakers the chance to pitch projects and learn more about the history of animation with Teri Snelgrove.

Given that the VFF will feature dozens of films, deciding on what to go and see is not necessarily an easy task. Here are three upcoming award-winning films that may catch your interest.  

Image via National Film Board of Canada

Dear Audrey

Activist-filmmaker Martin Duckworth is an acclaimed Canadian documentary director and cinematographer who has worked on almost 100 films. But this documentary follows him as he takes a step back from filmmaking in order to care for his wife as she succumbs to Alzheimer’s disease.

“I’ve made Dear Audrey as a tribute to Audrey, Martin and his family,” explained director Jeremiah Hayes. “As we collectively pause during this new COVID era, we rethink what’s important and turn with urgency towards living. In this spirit, Dear Audrey is a timely gift — a reminder of the choices we make and the families we create, and an invitation for all of us to take better care of each other.”

Dear Audrey is available to watch online and in person at the Odeon theatre.

Image via National Film Board of Canada

Meneath: The Hidden Island of Ethics 

This film explores the contrast between the Seven Deadly Sins (Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Pride, and Envy) and the Seven Sacred Teachings (Love, Respect, Wisdom, Courage, Truth, Honesty, and Humility) through stop-motion animation. The short film follows Baby Girl as she’s convinced she’s destined for Hell but through Anishinaabe teachings, she finds and gains her strength and pride, as well as a path towards healing. 

“Lately, I’ve been obsessed with the new term ‘code-switching,’” said director Terril Calder about the film. “I’m now 52 and have realized that a great part of my ‘career path’ was learning how to fit in. My ways were often interpreted as being unprofessional or uneducated. This constantly frustrated me, but part of me believed it. I learned how to fit in, or how to code-switch, to make people feel comfortable or maybe to be respected on their terms. I wanted to be accepted. This is a real barrier for many Indigenous people who can’t or won’t do the same to go to school or pursue their ‘career.’”

Meneath: The Hidden Island of Ethics is part of the Short Bursts program, where seven short films from Indigenous creators are presented in one sitting online. Meneath: The Hidden Island of Ethics is available online on Feb. 7 at Indigenous – Online. Search for Indigenous – Online to find it on the website.

Image via National Film Board of Canada

Someone Like Me 

In this documentary, a 22-year-old gay man from Uganda named Drake, leaves his life behind to find out who he is and love who he wants to love. He settles in Vancouver where a group of queer strangers who work for a non-profit called Rainbow Refugee, come together to act as his sponsors for a year. Throughout the 12 months, Drake and his sponsors go through a difficult journey of self-discovery and mentorship.

“One of the most surprising things I learned was that due to the Internet, culture has become global. When we started this project, I had many stereotypes of who and what an LGBTQ+ refugee was,” said director Sean Horlor.

“When Drake showed up and we started chatting, I was genuinely surprised to find out that we listened to the same music, watched the same shows. We had this cultural connection on which we could then begin to build a relationship, and I was surprised. I think it’s easy to forget that the Internet has connected us in many more ways than we all realize.”

Someone Like Me is available to watch online and in person at the Capitol 6 theatre.

If any of these films sound interesting to you, here’s how you can grab tickets. There will be no in-person sales and all purchases will be online through the Victoria Film Festival website. Remember to watch out for which films are online or in-person before buying your tickets, as some films will only be shown in person. There are also no exchanges and no refunds.